I have a serious problem with the way we teach, assign, and grade student writing. I’ve always wanted to change my system, but could never come up with something I liked. Nothing felt right.
Earlier this year, I was invited to present at Techspo on Gamificaiton. There, I took the opportunity to sit in on a bunch of workshops. One workshop, in particular, caught my attention. It was called “Stop Bleeding Red Ink” hosted by the amazing Kate Baker.
During the workshop, she talked about the many awesome ways that she tackles student writing and grading in her class. I took a lot of great ideas away from the workshop, but one really caught my attention: she allows her students to grade each other and, if students agree on the grade given by their peer, puts it into the gradebook as the final grade.
Mind = Blown. This is what I’ve been missing.
I loved the idea. Immediately, I wanted to create a whole new writing system around it, but I was skeptical. Could I really trust my students to grade each other? I chased Kate down after the workshop and talked to her about it. Long story short: she assured me her students were fair in their grading, and I should try it for myself.
Besides teaching, I also coach football, wrestling, and track at my high school. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a new trend on social media, mostly Twitter, that I’m not sure I’m thrilled about. Take a look at these Tweets and guess what’s under the red bars:
6/22 – We are live and ready to go! Thank you to everyone who believed in us! We’re hoping for an epic win!
6/12- KI Furniture came by today and dropped off a gift: A school-colored Learn2 desk! The kids were thrilled! KI has been supportive from the start of this project and promised they would do their best to give us a great deal on more desks. We also finished re-filming and editing the IndieGoGo campaign video. We have a few more loose ends to tie-up, but we should be ready to launch this Monday or Tuesday. Everyone is pumped!
6/5 – Had a great conversation with John Vaskis (@gogoJV) at indiegogo! We will be moving our campaign to IndieGoGo. We hope to launch by June 16th at the latest. Stay tuned for more and help spread the word! Thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way.
6/3 (Afternoon)- John Vaskis (@gogoJV) has offered to help my students move their project to indiegogo! Everyone is freaking out and super excited!
6/3 – We’ve heard offers of help, kind words, and well wishes from KI Furniture, Robert Pohl from Collaboration Solutions, Bretford Furniture, Amplify, SMART, Hitachi, and Simple Minds (Yes, the band!), but no update from Kickstarter. We are still in the appeal process. My students really hope that Kickstarter is rewriting their policy to accept projects like ours and that’s what is taking so long. How could they not want to support students and the places where they learn? Now, kids are looking into making an indiegogo campaign or just releasing their awesome video in hopes it goes viral.
5/25 Update: Still waiting to hear back from Kickstarter. Anyone suggest any Kickstarter alternatives?
5/13 Update: We’ve been denied by Kickstarter. We’ve filed an appeal.